Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year Begins

It's the year of the dog. In fifteen days: the lantern festival.

Yesterday, we went ATV shopping. It was fun. I'm looking for a small utility vehicle with four wheel drive and serious tires which can get me up and down the hills and valleys of this farm.

For a couple of years I've been thinking that it would be very helpful to be able to get quickly to the pastures where the cows and goats graze to check on them. Fences need to be checked periodically also and it is very tiring for an old lady to walk the periphery of 120 acres of rolling land.

I don't want one of those things that you have to ride like a motorcycle -- or a horse. I want regular seats. A seatbelt seems like a really good idea when you're being jostled around over rocks -- although I was shocked to find that most of these rugged little vehicles do not have them as standard equipment. Another shock was the prices of these things. It occurs to me that I could buy a used four-wheel drive truck for the same price I'd pay for a new ATV with a small truck bed. I'm thinking I may be able to get an ATV that is perhaps smaller and more agile, however. On the other hand, trucks are enclosed, have windshields and windshield wipers as standard features and, of course, seatbelts. I'm obviously on the fence here.

So far, I drove a Gator, Kawasaki Mule, Yamaha Rhino, and Polaris Ranger. If there are persons out there with experience with these models or other similar utility ATVs, I'd treasure your input.

Some of these vehicles can be purchased with a camouflage surface. It costs extra! I've been musing about this. If I wear an old Army camo jacket (as I do) and drive a camo ATV, would I be invisible? A stealth farmer?

Imagine what I could learn about livestock and wildlife if I zoomed along the pastures and woods unseen!

Hunters, evidently, like the four-seater camouflage ATVs. They even buy matching camo outfits. I can just imagine the deer falling on the ground laughing as the hunters arrive in the loud vehicle with their matching camo outfits -- and bright orange caps and vests.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Rain is in the forecast for today.

The fenceposts were placed yesterday for the new cross fencing project. Since it's been so mild, they were able to drill the holes easily with the auger placed on the tractor's PTO. The posts are then placed in the holes and tamped down with the tractor bucket.

We're moving along on that project. The placement of waterers is decided. Today, we'll take a look at the map and decide on where to place gates, including small "man gates" which we picked up cheap when the feed store was getting rid of excess inventory. It is important to me to have quick access to pastures when an emergency occurs or when a new baby needs to be taken to the barn.

My seed order arrived yesterday -- a big envelope from Fedco. I'll sort the packets into the clear shoeboxes in which I keep Leaf, Root, Squashes, Tomatoes and Peppers, etc. This helps me find what I'm looking for at the appropriate planting times. If time permits, I'll set up some boxes of soil for planting lettuce in the greenhouse.

Yesterday, I managed to move two large boxes of trays from the greenhouse to the shed attic to store. The trays are heavy and it takes many trips to move them in batches, so is pretty labor-intensive. Still, it's worthwhile in terms of making the greenhouse a better workspace.

I'm counting a new calf in the field and think maybe Lulubelle had hers. It's a matter of getting close enough to see Mama's ear tag to be sure, as she's a black Angus and baby is black, too. We think that Annabelle "has a string", so she's also on the baby-watch.

Late breaking news: Today's newborn calf, a heifer, black with white back legs. We're still working on a name.

Well, time to go see what I can accomplish today.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Ta da! The socks are finished.

I'm on to other tasks. The fence posts have been delivered for the cross-fencing project.

We're awaiting the digging of the ditches for the pipes which will take water from the well to the new ball waterers which are going in the pastures.

The temperatures are mild, so I'm planning on taking a look at the asparagus beds today and doing some painting in the old house.

No snow today.

If you are a regular reader of this blog and have come over via the link in today's entry at mountainfarmstead, please bookmark this address. I'm planning on gradually moving my blog here, as I am having trouble with the editing process on the old blog. In the meantime, I'll mirror the writing here with images.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Welcome to My Mountain Farmstead!

I cleaned out the little greenhouse which has been holding junk that was better off placed in the newly floored shed. Now I have a place to harden off seedlings in the Spring. Our "shed complex" is in need of organization and repair, and I'm glad we've made some headway. It seems each time I figure out how to properly store tools and junk and stuff, I gain the ability to better use buildings like greenhouses.

There is now a pull-down ladder which allows me to climb up to the shed complex attic. Slowly all the plastic seeding flats, pots, containers, shade cloth, etc., etc. is going up there and the bigger greenhouse is able to be used for what it was intended for: plant growing.

All that stuff was left here from when this place was a plant nursery somewhere back in time and space.

And so it goes: the toolshed will get organized again as stuff and junk is moved to the newly accessible and useable spaces. Someday, we may actually be able to find what we need without climbing over piles. It's a good feeling and this is the time of the year to do it.

It's been mild weatherwise until last night. I planted pepper seeds in a flat in the greenhouse and placed it on a heated seedling mat. I'm ready to do the tomatoes in a week or so.

Last night the cold came along with the Full Wolf Moon. The wind howled in sympathy all night long. Sleep was elusive.

Cow Patty had her third calf over a week ago. My daughter-in-law named it, Noel.

I am happy to have found Verlyn Klinkenborg's blog, The Rural Life, online: Blog